Getting ready to sell your house? Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Selling a home entails a whole lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn and uploading photos of your place—especially if you’re angling for the most cash.

So before you put your house on the market, read through this checklist to help in the preparation. Some of these tips are pretty easy, while others might need a little more elbow grease. But they’re sure to pay off once buyers start oohing and ahhing!

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Clean and organize.
Rooms will look larger if there’s less stuff in them. Consider renting a storage unit to temporarily store everything except for the most critical pieces of furniture and decor. But don’t go overboard; it’s better to leave some furniture in the room than to have it completely empty, so potential buyers can imagine where their furniture would go.

Clean counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers. If the house is overflowing with stuff, they might get concerned about not having enough space for their own belongings. Declutter as much as you can before you sell it, and when it sells you will be well on your way to being packed to move.

Depersonalizing your home will give home buyers the opportunity to imagine living in your home and making their own memories there rather than taking a tour down your family’s memory lane. Family pictures on the wall aren’t necessarily bad, but when your walls are loaded with pictures it can turn a buyer off. Take down clutter from the fridge, kids walls, and as many family pictures as you can. The buyer wants to see themselves in your house.

Tackle the honey-do list.
Evaluate the main structures of your home and take care of any pressing problems, such as leaking pipes, cracked windows, or other concerns that could turnoff potential buyers. You’d be surprised by the negative effect a loose handle or missing lightbulb can have on a buyer. It can make them stop and think, ‘What else is broken here?’

Repaint walls to neutral tones.
You might love that red accent wall, but if it’s your potential buyer’s least favorite color, that could be a turnoff. It’s rare that someone hates a neutral color. A lighter color will allow potential buyers to envision what the walls would look like with the color of their choice.

Boost the curb appeal.
Keep your lawn mowed, your hedges trimmed, and consider adding flower beds for a bit of color. Replace your mailbox if it is damaged or in poor condition. Consider painting or replacing your front door.

Enhance and beautify.
Be sure to leave a lot of open space, minimize furniture, and arrange the furniture to make the area look big and open. Use furniture placement and pieces on the walls to clearly define each space so that new owners could see potential for layouts that would meet their own needs.

Buy fresh white towels and bath mats for all of the bathrooms in your home. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, and you can often find these items at the dollar store. Lay out your towels on the sinks to give it a spa like feeling, and replace old bath mats with the new ones.

The secret tip is – keep these new towels folded up and safe in a closet, then take them out and put them out only for the showing. When the showing is over, fold them back up and store until the next one.

Open all curtains and blinds so that rooms look as light, bright, and spacious as possible. Also, be sure to turn on the lights for the same reasons.

Prepare for Open House
Because plants create a more welcoming environment, you might consider a bouquet of flowers or bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or dining table.

You’ve probably heard this one before. Bake some sort of baked good right before your showing. This helps people feel like your house is a home, makes it inviting and smells delicious!

They even have cookie scented candles, so if in a pinch you can burn one of those before the showing.

Conduct a smell test.
Foul odors, even slight ones, can be a deal breaker, and the problem is that you might not even notice them. Invite an unbiased third party in to try to detect any pet smells or lingering odors.

If the smells are pervasive, you might need to do some deep cleaning, because many buyers are on to your “masking techniques” such as candles or plug-in room deodorizers.

Ultimately it’s up to you how much or how little you’re willing to put in to your home before you put it on the market. Keep your end goal in mind, do as much as you can, and before you know it, you’ll be hanging a sold sign in your yard. Best of luck, here’s to a quick and profitable sale!

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